It’s early January, and I’m sitting in my beach chair on the shores of beautiful Lake Cachuma, soaking up the California sunshine. The area’s endless wine vineyards surround the lake on all sides, and the Santa Ynez mountains tower off in the distance. Just up the road lie Solvang, Los Olivos, and other towns made famous by the movie Sideways. My wife, Jeska, and I just got married a week ago on the beach in Santa Barbara – barefoot at sunset, just like we had dreamed. However, we aren’t here in this heavenly place on our honeymoon. For me, this is just another normal day at the office, and one of many stops on our magical mystery tour.
When people ask me what I do for a living that enables me to live this crazy lifestyle, I tell them I have the best job in the world – I’m a headhunter. Really, in what other career can you help people for a living, and give yourself a raise whenever you want, all while essentially taking an endless vacation in a luxury RV to exotic destinations of your dreams? With today’s mobile technology, there is no limit to where you can go and be a successful recruiter. My office? A laptop with a Verizon wireless card, a cell phone with Bluetooth, a printer/fax/scanner /copier combo, and an ASP-model database. Add on a satellite Internet dish and VoiP phone, and I can go anywhere on Earth.
It’s been an interesting road to get to this point. Being a headhunter is really all I’ve ever done. It started out as a summer job after my sophomore year in college with an MRI office in Plantation, Florida. At the age of 20, I had no idea what a head-hunter did, or even that the profession existed. However, after a rookie year that resulted in $600K in billings, I realized I’d found my calling. I became a student of the business, and learned all that I could from the best in the industry: Nathan Hanks, Jeff Kaye, Jon Bartos, Danny Cahill, and many others. Dominate your niche. Become brand-recognized. Know your value proposition. Time kills all deals. I was eating and breathing recruiting.
After six years and $4 million in career cash-in, I was starting to suffer from a bit of burnout. As Danny says – that should be a goal for everyone – it means you were on fire for a while. At that point I was averaging about two months per year of vacation, constantly attending and volunteering at Tony Robbins seminars, riding my bicycle as much as possible, but still didn’t feel truly fulfilled. I had stopped growing. I knew there had to be something more.
One day, my good friend A.J. provided the spark that I needed. He challenged me, and asked why I didn’t own my own business. I’d always dreamed of running my own firm, but was in a serious comfort zone where I was. I told him I needed to save up for my wedding that was coming up in less than a year. He called BS on me, then asked again. I gave another excuse. This continued until he broke me down and got me to admit that the only thing holding me back was my fear of failure. What if I don’t succeed? What if things don’t work out? What if . . .? Then he put it to me straight: “Is there any chance that you are going to fail?” In that instant, my life changed. I knew there was no chance, barring the end of the world, that I wouldn’t be successful as a recruiter. Tony has a saying, “In your moments of decision, your destiny is shaped.”
Once I came to the decision to pursue my dream and open my own search firm, the realization came quickly that I could be based anywhere. I started dreaming bigger – what else was possible? I’d always wanted to get an RV and travel the country. I’m sure that is many people’s retirement dream. Being the impatient recruiter that I am, I didn’t feel like waiting 30 years. I bought my Fleetwood Discovery the following weekend. Within a month, Jeska, our dog, Roxy, and I were on the road living our dream.
We’d also bought a 27-foot enclosed car trailer to haul the motorcycle, Jeep Cherokee, our bicycles, surfboard, and any other toys we could think of bringing. Coupled with the RV, we were about 65 feet long. It was a bit tough to maneuver at first. I learned while trying to back up the second week that it might be a bad idea, having punched the ladder on the back of the RV through the front of the trailer. There were several other interesting experiences. If you’ve seen the movie RV with Robin Williams, you catch my drift.
I took four months completely off from recruiting to refresh my juices for the business. We were having the time of our lives traveling across the U.S., visiting 22 states in that time. We climbed endless mountains, took fantastic bike rides on some of the most amazing roads you could imagine, visited every friend and family member we knew, and just had the most amazing experiences. While out in Palm Springs for a seminar in December, we got the urge to go get married. Vegas was close, but the beach in Santa Barbara seemed like such a nicer way to go! Living in the moment, we got married the next weekend.
Once January came around, it was time to blast off. I decided to buy a recruiting franchise with SearchPath International, based in Cleveland. They helped provide me with operational, administrative, and technical support, as well as anything else I might need. I had my mail forwarded from my house to their HQ office, which they would then FedEx to my current location. Being based remotely and traveling as I was, having SPI supporting me allowed me to focus my efforts on building my business.
Article Continues Below
Let's make hourly hiring easier for everyone
I started planning for a few weeks – industry research, target clients, writing scripts, planning marketing calls, structuring my days – eight hours per day I planned. I had to develop a schedule that would allow me to be successful but would still enable us to explore all the amazing places we were going. Since I was on the West Coast, I would get on the phones from 8 to 11, lunch from 11 to 12, then pound the phones again from 12 to 3. I always targeted a minimum of four hours per day on the phones, and as long as I focused and stayed disciplined during phone time, I was able to make it. Once 3 p.m. hit, we’d usually take off for a bike ride through the wine vineyards, go for a hike, take Roxy for a walk, or head down to Santa Barbara. The great thing about working from an RV, or any home office for that matter, is that you can get your planning done at night. I truly believe that planning is one of the most important traits of a successful recruiter, yet one of the least practiced.
We lived on Lake Cachuma for three amazing months as we started up the business and made our first placements. Next we hit Napa for a week, Tahoe for two weeks, Vegas for two weeks, southern Utah for a month, NM, Dallas, and back east to New Orleans for the Fordyce Forum in June. The RV gave us the freedom to be where we wanted when we wanted and to take our business with us. If we liked some place, we’d stay. If there was somewhere else to explore, we’d move on. Another benefit is that the RV serves as office equipment and can be tax deductible, as can gas, campgrounds, insurance, and any other related business expenses.
I design our route based on events we want to attend and places we dream of experiencing. Next up is RAGBRAI, a 400-mile bike ride across Iowa. As you read this, we will probably be watching Pearl Jam at Lollapalooza in Chicago or mountain biking in West Virginia. After that we will head back home to Florida for the fall and winter, but already have a trip in mind for next summer, through the Canadian Rockies and up to Denali National Park in Alaska.
Drawbacks? Yes, I will admit that sometimes the kitchen table of the RV (my main office) gets a bit cramped for space. I’ve already got my eye on getting a bigger one with four slide-outs. Gas is expensive, especially with a 90-gallon tank to fill up. However, it’s only expensive when you drive, not when you are stationary in one location. Living in an RV is fantastic when everything works. Unfortunately, as with a house, things go bad, whether it’s plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling. When things stop working, it can put your life on hold. Also, I am lucky that my wife and I enjoy being around each other 24/7. If that’s not the case, you might want to think twice. There is nowhere to go except out for a walk if an argument breaks out. If you have young children, this probably won’t work. RVs are designed to handle drinks for six, dinner for four, and sleep for two.
So, what are your dreams? Do you want to travel the world with the one you love? Split time between your beach house and ski condo? Live a life of adventure, spontaneity, and passion while running your recruiting practice? Or just to get away for a little while longer than usual, without falling behind on your desk? Whatever they are, get real with yourself on what might be holding you back from living that dream. Then go buy yourself an RV and make it happen!
Jordan Rayboy has been recruiting IT sales and marketing professionals since 2000. He spent six years with Management Recruiters International (MRI), where he was Regional Rookie of the Year, three-time South-Atlantic Regional Account Executive of the Year, National Top 3 in the sales consultants division from 2003 to 2005, and Top 10 Worldwide producer in 2005. He also achieved the designation of CSAM (certified senior account manager) and was asked to speak on a panel of experts at several CSAM and regional conferences. In 2007, he opened his own search firm with SearchPath Inter-national (SPI). He is currently traveling America in a Fleetwood motor home with his wife, Jeska, and dog, Roxy, building his recruiting practice while living his dream. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jordan Rayboy any time. He can be reached at 512-636-8457 or email@example.com.